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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

ii2              Handel and Music

Handel dying musically as well as physically childless, while
Bach was as prolific in respect of musical disciples as lie was
in that of children.

What, then, was it, supposing I am right at all, that Handel
distrusted in the principles of Scarlatti as deduced from
those of Bach ? I imagine that he distrusted chiefly the
abuse of the appoggiatura, the abuse of the unlimited power
of modulation which equal temperament placed at the
musician's disposition and departure from well-marked
rhythm, beat or measured tread. At any rate I believe the
music I like best myself to be sparing of the appoggiatura, to
keep pretty close to tonic and dominant and to have a well-
marked beat, measure and rhythm.

Handel and Homer

Handel was a greater man than Homer (I mean the author
of the Iliad) ; but the very people who are most angry with
me for (as they incorrectly suppose) sneering at Homer are
generally the ones who never miss an opportunity of cheapen-
ing and belittling Handel, and, which is very painful to myself,
they say I was laughing at him in Narcissus. Perhaps—but
surely one can laugh at a person and adore him at the same
time.

Handel and Bach

If you tie Handel's hands by debarring him from the
rendering of human emotion, and if you set Bach's free by
giving him no human emotion to render—if, in fact, you
rob Handel of his opportunities and Bach of his difficulties—
the two men can fight after a fashion, but Handel will even
so come off victorious. Otherwise it is absurd to let Bach
compete at all. Nevertheless the cultured vulgar have at all
times preferred gymnastics and display to reticence and the
healthy, graceful, normal movements of a man of birth and
education, and Bach is esteemed a more profound musician
than Handel in virtue of his frequent and more involved
complexity of construction. In reality Handel was profound
enough to eschew such wildernesses of counterpoint as Bach
instinctively resorted to, but he knew also that public opinion